Listen: Unexpected Songs // Guest Mix by The Holy Circle
Listen: Unexpected Songs // Guest Mix by The Holy Circle

Listen: Unexpected Songs // Guest Mix by The Holy Circle

Artwork Credit: Heather Benjamin
The Holy Circle is a Baltimore-based trio of Erica Burgner (Unlucky Atlas), Rob Savillo (Birth (Defects)) and Terence Hannum (Locrian). Sick with Love EP is coming on July 19 via Deathbomb Arc and in the meantime the band talked to us about unexpected influences in their music.

Growing up in my Southern Baptist family, The Carpenters were one of the only secular bands that my mom listened to and were her preferred source material for weddings as a pianist/vocalist for hire. I thought Karen Carpenter had the most buttery, sumptuous voice in the whole world. Dolly Parton’s influence was subtle because I was inundated with her music all the time; from my aunt’s Kenny and Dolly tapes always blasting on her home intercom system and car radio to our semi-annual pilgrimages to Dollywood. By the end of high school, I was all nostalgia performing “I Only Have Eyes” as my first pop standard for voice lessons, singing along backstage to k.d. lang’s Orbison-esque voice, and admiring the seemingly effortless vocals of Astrud Gilberto. When Terence and I were dating in the early 2000’s, we were full emo, driving along the beach with windows down on summer evenings in Naples, Florida and listening to the likes of Sunny Day Real Estate and Low. The influence of Low’s minimalist beats and rich harmonies lingered for several more years as Terence and I formed our dark folk band Unlucky Atlas. In the early 2000’s, I listened to Bjork’s ‘Hyper-Ballad’ and ‘Joga’ on loop and was introduced to the music of Anthony and The Johnsons via their duets on ‘Volta’. Anohni’s voice is nonconformist and their music genre-bendy, to say the least, fluctuating between elements of opera and soul. I was so excited about what I was hearing and played their music for a friend who laughed and mocked but I wasn’t swayed and like to think that discovery led to a lot of what I’ve written for The Holy Circle.

I thought I’d share songs that impressed on me in ways that “Sick with Love” would not readily reveal: the one-two gut punch of The Men’s “Think” and Arse’s “Primitive Species,” the blown-out anti-anthems of Cherub’s “How Little We Know” and Rusted Shut’s “Disease of the Spirit,” and the range of punk influences from Crass’ “How Does It Feel?” and Blitz’s “Someone’s Gonna Die.” And, of course, Technicolor Teeth’s way underrated “Blood Pool” just because that song rules.

My influences are all over the place, I don’t think anything should be unexpected. I am a huge fan of dub reggae and the weirder the better – the trippier the better – I love both Horace Andy and Basic Channel and the depth of sound and weirdness combined with the message of “Money Money” makes this a big one for me. I love Alva Noto and a lot of the raster-noton label but the Xerrox series is a big influence on me, so full of blissed out noise and melody. Living in Chicago it was hard to avoid the footwork scene, and DJ Rashad (RIP) has been my guiding light in programming drums. I caught the end of Skywave. and the beginnings of A Place to Bury Strangers. and always thought it was an interesting continuation of the aggressive shoegaze approach. Passage d’ Hiver is probably not a surprise but it is so dense, lo-fi, and pretty that it is something that I always return to. Finally, Yellow Swans were a duo that meant a lot to me with how they layer abstract noise then turn it into something both beautiful and harsh.


Horace Andy – Money Money
Technicolor Teeth – Blood Pool
Dolly Parton – Jolene
Alva Noto – Xerrox Isola
Crass – How Does It Feel?
Anthony and the Johnsons – The Crying Light
DJ Rashad (feat Spinn and Taso) – Feelin
The Men – Think
k.d. Lang – Constant Craving
Skywave – Over and Over
Cherubs – How Little We Know
Carpenters – Superstar
Paysage D’Hiver – Der Krystal ist Eis
Rusted Shut – Disease of the Spirit
The Flamingos – I Only Have Eyes for You
Yellow Swans – Going Places
Low – Sunflower
ARSE – Primitive Species
Sunny Day Real Estate – Tearing in my Heart
Blitz – Someone’s Gonna Die
Stan Getz / Joao Gilberto – Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars)

Further Reading

Anathemata Editions
Heartbreaking Bravery
Cloister Recordings
The Big Takeover
Heathen Harvest
If It’s Too Loud

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